VAKYO envisions the heritage city of India Varanasi evolved into a Smart Heritage City, inspired by how Kyoto has transformed itself over the decades.

This initiative aims to bring India and Japan closer by connecting the heritage cultural cities of Varanasi and Kyoto as an initiative of the India-Japan Global Partnership (IJGP).

India-Japan Global Partnership aims to bring India and Japan closer through the economic, political, social, and cultural integration of the nations.


Using Kyoto model as an inspiration for transforming Varanasi into Smart Heritage City

India Center has already identified five major areas for the Kyoto-Varanasi partnership.

These include:

  • Solid-liquid waste management
  • Transport management
  • Developing the Buddhist tourist circuit in and around Varanasi
  • Industry-university interface
  • Setting up of a convention centre on public-private partnership basis for giving a fillip to the cultural activities in the city.
Differences in Infrastructure

The two cities are starkly different in terms of infrastructural growth and mode of transportation


The roads in Kyoto are neat and wide with a few densely populated alleys. However, most of Varanasi’s roads need major upgradation. Streets in Kyoto such as Ponto-chō are a good inspiration for narrow roads in Varanasi.


Kyoto has been modernized while maintaining the old glory of temples and monuments. However, most of the renowned Heritage sites in Varanasi are in a dilapidated state and need to be restored.

Forward Looking Mindset
& Civic Consciousness

The people of Varanasi must be shown the inspiring vision of Varanasi as a Smart and Heritage so that they feel the need to be part of a project of such magnitude and do their part in taking forward the processes.

Rivers and Water way Infrastructure

Kyoto has kept the cleanliness of its rivers as a top priority whereas the Ganga has been polluted for decades with all its Ghats need to be upgraded. Further, Kyoto has a number of rivers, canals and other navigable waterways. While Yodo, Kamogawa and Katsura rivers flow through Kyoto, its Lake Biwa canal is a major infrastructure milestone. In Varanasi, this process will have to be conceptualised from scratch.